Guidelines for Effective General Communication
Listening and speaking are important
in family communication and the harmony
that will follow from this communication. To be a good listener
one must show interest in what the other person is saying to them
and also be able to get there ideas across so that the other person
will understand them. Here are some guidelines that will
help you family to communicate better.
1. Draw a mental picture of what the other person is
Ask questions to help you complete the picture in your mind. This
will let the other person know that you are taking an interest
in his or her topic.
2. Learn something new from the speaker.
Take the role of the student, so that your adolescent becomes
3. Stay focused on the other person.
Do not use this time to interrupt with one of your own stories.
4. Be an active listener.
An active listener summarizes the speaker's statements to check
for understanding. Ask questions to keep the conversation moving.
By asking for more details, you will help to stay focused on the
5. Match the speaker's emotional state,
unless it is hostile.
You will help the speaker feel accepted if you match his or her
mood. This also shows empathy, or reassurance that you understand
and can identify with the speaker.
6. Withhold advice unless you are asked
to give it.
Hear the other person out. Do not interrupt or add your opinions
until the speaker has finished. Your job is to listen with understanding,
not make judgment calls.
7. Put yourself in the other person's
Try to understand your adolescent's perspective. This shows that
you respect his or her point of view, even though you may not
agree with it.
8. Think before you speak.
You may want to count to ten before you respond. This will create
an opportunity for you to compose yourself and avoid a heated
9. Encourage the other person.
Even when discussing sensitive or emotionally charged topics,
let your adolescent know that you still care about him or her.
Think of something you like about him or her.
Opening Up & Talking